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SNOOKER: Lee in bid for world’s place
12:00pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
TROWBRIDGE snooker ace Stephen Lee has submitted an entry for next month’s World Championship but must clear his name of match-fixing allegations by the end of March to stand any hope of playing at the Crucible.
The former world number five has been suspended from snooker since October, initially due to an ongoing investigation into suspicious betting on his Premier League match with John Higgins. Higgins is under no suspicion.
Lee was told by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association on February 14 he has “a case to answer” following a separate investigation into match-fixing, and he has remained off the tour as a result.
Lee, 38, is facing allegations that he breached WPBSA rules in eight matches spanning four tournaments, including the 2009 World Championship. As with the probe into his match against Higgins, he protests his innocence.
Lee is determined to return to the tour but to be back in time for the World Championship he must have been cleared on all fronts by the end of March.
The draw for the World Championship qualifying stage is expected to be held on April 1, by which time the line-up of entrants for the entire event must be in place.
Lee’s case into the match-fixing allegations is due to be heard by Sporting Resolutions UK, but a date has still to be set.
His manager Adam Quigley confirmed Lee had been sent an entry form for the World Championship, and returned it before the deadline at the end of last month.
Quigley said: “We’re still waiting for a hearing date. Depending on that, hopefully he’ll be in it.
“They’re trying to thrash it out and to have a QC available to hear the case.
“The whole saga has gone on for six or seven months so far, which isn’t ideal.’ “Stephen has been very positive considering everything that’s gone on, and obviously he insists he’s done nothing wrong.
“He’s still practising and still doing the odd exhibition.”
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “We are subject to the legal process. We hope things can move very quickly.”